To all outward appearances, the Alaska night is peaceful. I'm in my tent after a full day of backpacking, tucked in and ready to sleep. Camp is situated at the base of a beautiful unnamed mountain, and a stream trickles nearby. Birds flit around near the water. The summer sun is low and honey colored. With the camping beds, it will be convenient.
No one ever offered me "camping lessons" and I was maybe too young as a Cub Scout to pay enough attention or care enough about the few times we talked about surviving and thriving in the great outdoors.
Thus, it is no stretch to tag me as possibly one of the worst campers in the western hemisphere. Most of my attempts at cozying up to nature in past camping trips resulted in no sleep, numerous mosquito and fly bites, dirty clothes, a stinky body and, quite likely, bad breath. We can throw in getting soaked for good measure on those days or nights it rained.
Jameson says if you’re camping in an area with live seafood like mussels, you can scrape them off the bottom of rocks and toss them with a cup of white wine poured into a pot. He warns to eat them only if the shells open when cooked. If they don’t open, you don’t eat.
Car camping is the inverse of backcountry camping. “Bring everything,” says Jameson. “Bring your favorite pillow, bring an inflatable mattress -- bring two of them. There’s no reason not to be really comfortable.” When it comes to car camping, comfort is king. It shared some details about how one had its legs virtually tied together. The reminder here is for fishermen and any others who might encounter it, to remove fishing wire left near a riverbank. It’s comfortable and convenient with a military camping cot when fishing. As for those swings, it includes one I never heard of before -- an "expression swing" built so an adult can also swing while facing the child.
Of course, there's a Youtube version of camping, with the sounds of crickets, owls, and the cracking of a fire. In a world where we're more and more removed from real activities, virtual ones take over. A child may think he's been camping, but if it's on his phone or computer, it's not the real thing. Now, more than ever, we need the real thing.